- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 30, 2009


U.S. official found with swine flu

PARIS | A U.S. official, in Normandy to prepare President Obama’s upcoming visit, has been diagnosed with swine flu and is being treated in a hospital, French authorities said Friday.

Eleven other members of the U.S. delegation were placed in isolation for 24 hours in their hotel rooms and given medical treatment, said an official at the Calvados region administrative headquarters.

The 54-year-old American woman was hospitalized in the city of Caen, and will remain for about a week, the official said.

The hotel where the delegation was staying, in the seaside town of Port-en-Bessin, is not far from the beaches where Allied forces landed June 6, 1944, in the D-Day invasion. Mr. Obama is coming to the area for the 65th anniversary of the invasion next week.

In April, a U.S. security aide helping with arrangements during Mr. Obama’s trip to Mexico became sick with flu-like symptoms, and three members of his family later contracted probable swine flu. The employee, who was not identified, was an aide to Energy Secretary Steven Chu.


Campaign office of president hit

TEHRAN | Gunmen wounded three people at one of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s campaign offices in southeast Iran Friday, a day after a bombing in a Shi’ite mosque in the same city killed 25 people, the official news agency said.

The attacks took place in Zahedan, the capital of a lawless province near Pakistan and Afghanistan that has witnessed attacks by Jundallah, a militant group that claims to be fighting for the rights of minority Sunnis and is believed to have al Qaeda links.

Abdel Raouf Rigi, a Jundallah spokesman, told Al Arabiya television that his group was responsible for Thursday’s attack and said it was carried out by a suicide bomber targeting a secret meeting of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards that was taking place inside the mosque.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, blamed “interventionist powers” of trying to incite sectarian conflict with the mosque bombing, and the country’s interior minister specifically accused the U.S. and Israel.

Iran often blames Western powers for violence inside the country - accusations they routinely refuse as the U.S. did Friday.


Bomb kills four north of Baghdad

BAGHDAD | A bomb exploded inside a bus station north of Baghdad Friday, killing at least four people and wounding 10, police said, the deadliest in a series of attacks in northern Iraq.

A U.S. soldier also was killed Friday in a grenade attack, raising to at least 21 the number of American troop deaths so far in May. That’s the deadliest month for U.S. forces in Iraq since September, when 25 died. The grenade detonated near a U.S. patrol in the northern province of Ninevah, the military said.

The bus station bomb was attached to a car parked inside the station in the Shi’ite enclave of Khalis, according to local police and a report from the provincial security headquarters.


39 Taliban suspects held among refugees

ISLAMABAD | Police have arrested 39 suspected Taliban fighters hiding among refugees from a military offensive against militants from Pakistan’s Swat Valley region, a senior officer said Friday.

The arrests, made in the past few days, were the first of suspected militants among more than 2 million people who have fled the fighting.

The military said it has killed more than 1,100 militants in a month of heavy clashes and has the Taliban on the run. Officials had previously warned that fleeing insurgents may try to take refuge among civilians.

The fighters had cut their hair short and shaved their beards in a bid to disguise themselves from authorities and blend in with civilians, police said.


Vigil to mark Tiananmen

A grass-roots group will hold a candlelight vigil at the Washington Monument in Washington between 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday in memory of the victims of the Chinese government crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989.

Remember64.org said the vigil will be dedicated to the students and civilians killed 20 years ago in the crackdown in Beijing on June 3-4, 1989.

Fang Zheng, who lost both legs in the crackdown, will be the special guest, and Wang Dan, a former Tiananmen student leader, will also speak.


LaHood rides bullet train

MADRID | Spain showed off its bullet train system Friday, giving the U.S. transportation secretary a first-hand glimpse of the high-speed rail grid that President Obama has praised as a model for America.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood boarded a train at Madrid’s Atocha station along with Spanish Development Minister Jose Blanco for an hour-and-a-quarter trip to Zaragoza, a stop on the line heading to Barcelona.

Mr. LaHood has been touring Europe this week, riding a TGV bullet-train in France and attending a transportation conference in Germany that also featured officials from the German railway system, Deutsche Bahn.


Government homes for ‘Slumdog’ stars

MUMBAI | The government will give the two impoverished child stars of the hit movie “Slumdog Millionaire” new homes, the state’s top official said Friday, creating the possibility that the homeless children will soon own not one but two new apartments.

Rubina Ali, 9, and Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, 10, both lost their homes this month when authorities demolished parts of their slum in Mumbai.

Ashok Chavan, the chief minister of the state of Maharashtra, said he approved the transfer of two government apartments to the children Friday. Filmmakers have also promised the stars new apartments.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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